YOUTH PROGRAM: Surrounded by North Tulsa mentors are, first row from the left, Barry Maxwell, Director of Development; fourth from left holding the check is Eddie Evans, Director of North Tulsa Programming. Second row, beginning second from the left, is Michael Hairston, Treasurer of 100 Black Men; Jim Walker, Executive director;, Mayor Kathy Taylot; Michael Edwards, Director of Sales for US Cellular Oklahoma and State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre. Back row third from the end is State Representative Jabar Shumate.
Courtesy Youth Services of Tulsa
Mayor Kathy Taylor joined U.S. Cellular in presenting a $40,000 grant to Youth Services of Tulsa (YST) to fund the organization’s North Tulsa Youth Program, a mentoring program designed to divert at-risk youth from gang involvement by providing positive role models, recreational activities and assistance with staying in school.
“We are grateful to U.S. Cellular for supporting this organization and its continued support of the Tulsa community,” says Mayor Taylor. “Having a positive role model involved in a child’s life is critical. This grant will help YST continue their efforts to provide positive role models and programs for at-risk youth in North Tulsa.”
YST had been providing mentors to youth at risk of gang involvement in North Tulsa for three years before losing the major funding for the program mid way through last year. “With this generous grant from U.S. Cellular we will be able reinstitute our mentoring program in North Tulsa. This program is a real grassroots effort. Members from Greenwood Christian Center and an organization calling itself 100 Black Men approached us and said they wanted to do this and they wanted to work with us to do it,” says Jim Walker, executive director for YST.
Although the program is just getting restarted, about 20 mentors have already been recruited and most were in attendance at the press conference. Michael Edwards who is one of the mentors and the Treasurer of the Tulsa chapter of 100 Black Men gave a passionate speech about the benefits of mentoring not only for the child but for the mentor as well. He reminded the audience to remember: “When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree. As we all know, there are passionate individuals who wish to plant a positive seed in the hearts of our young people, which will help them grow forever!”
In addition to Mayor Taylor, State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre and State Representative Jabar Shumate were present to show their support for the program.
“At U.S. Cellular, we are committed to supporting the communities we serve,” says Michael Edwards, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Oklahoma. “We are proud to support the Youth Services of Tulsa with this grant. Their work truly makes a difference in the lives of the kids they serve.”
Since 2002, U.S. Cellular has awarded more than $540,000 in charitable funds to nonprofits serving economically disadvantaged youth, families and seniors in Oklahoma, including nearly $300,000 in Tulsa.
Founded in 1969, YST’s goals are to provide quality programs and services for the protection, education and positive development of youth and to foster a community atmosphere that values youth as resources. They provide innovative services and activities designed to increase self discovery and instill positive core values and decision-making skills that will keep youth safe and allow them to lead healthy and productive lives.
U.S. Cellular is the nation’s sixth-largest wireless service carrier, providing wireless service to six million customers in 26 states. The Chicago-based company employs 8,000 associates and operates on a customer satisfaction strategy, meeting customer needs by providing a comprehensive range of wireless products and services, superior customer support, and a high-quality network.